This past week, both my ladies went back to school: Preschool for Harper and law school for Lacey. Originally, I was writing a hilariously witty column about how Lacey and I were so busy that we forgot to take a picture of our daughter’s first day of preschool (yes, this is true). But, then, I realized that if we’re THIS busy, then so were our parents . . .
Which, of course, never crossed my mind until I experienced it for myself. So, I asked my mom, “How did you do it?”
“You just . . . do.” She replied. My mom isn’t exactly Socrates.
As a kid, the first day of school arrives and you’re equipped: New clothes, supplies, lunch . . . check, check, check.
Children, whether entering preschool or finishing high school, just don’t have the experience to appreciate the efforts their parents go through to make sure they have the things they need, or think they need, to succeed. At least, I didn’t.
Whether it was a marble composition notebook or “mechanical” #2 pencils, it was in my backpack. I never asked myself, or my mom, what lengths she had to go through to meet my need or request, nor did I ever entertain what kind of day she had and whether she wanted to go shopping for it.
And, just in case you’re wondering . . . I totally rocked an LL Bean backpack with my initials stitched into it, just like every other kid. Until it wasn’t cool anymore . . . then, just like every other kid, I asked my parents to buy me a JanSport backpack.
If I had a need, from school supplies to an afterschool ride, my parents saw to it that it was met.
Maybe I was spoiled. Maybe I was a brat. Maybe I was just the son of two educators . . . I don’t know.
I just know that, while I probably gave the obligatory “thank you” back then, I never fully appreciated how much my parents did. Likely, neither did you.
What makes it even worse: Back then, life was so much less convenient.
My mom couldn’t just order my school supplies on Amazon with Prime shipping. My dad couldn’t send an Uber to pick me up if he didn’t want, or wasn’t able, to give me a ride somewhere. Forget texts or emails—cellphones and tablets didn’t exist.
Parenting was done old school. And, we didn’t appreciate our parents’ efforts any more then than our children appreciate ours now.
So, while you’re preparing for your kid(s) to go back to school, raggedly running around town and feeling entirely unappreciated, take a second from being annoyed or overwhelmed and acknowledge . . . this is what parents “just do.”
Actually, take a second and give your mom or dad a call to say, “thank you.”
You’ll likely hear a chuckle on the other end. Parents always find it humorous when you can finally relate to their suffering. At least mine do.
Don’t worry, you’ll let out a chuckle, too, when your son or daughter gives you a ring in 25 years saying, “thank you” for all you did . . . and all we’re doing is ordering things on Amazon and grabbing Ubers.
It’s just what we “do.”
Your Friend and My Favorite,